Error in benefit payments will see ESA claimants receive £5K back pay

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Tens of thousands of people on sickness benefits are to receive backdated payments of around £5,000 after government errors.

The mistaken calculations by The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) were made when people were moved onto the main sickness benefit, the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and is now costing them more than £1.5b.

Some people are believed to have already received payments of over £10,000.

In a newly published document, the DWP said they are in the process of reviewing around 570,000 cases that could be affected and expects to complete 320,000 of those during 2018/19. The remainder will be completed by the end of 2019.

They said: “More than two million claimants were receiving incapacity benefits before reassessment began and we have now reassessed around 1.5m people, nearly all of those who required a reassessment.”

They added: “Around 18,000 arrears payments have been made to qualifying claimants; The total amount of historical arrears paid to date is around £120 million; The average arrears payment to date is around £7,000.”